“What’s your favorite way to make a grilled cheese sandwich?”
Ever think you’d hear that question in an interview, much less an interview for a high-level executive position?
That’s what happened to a client of mine who went to his first interview in months for a senior-level business development position. Excited by the prospect of actually getting an interview he forged on, determined to maintain composure despite the extremely unconventional question.
So what’s does this little anecdote mean in practical terms? It’s simple – expect the unexpected. In an increasingly information-centric world employers are keenly aware of the fact that interviewees have “heard it all.” They know that you’ve likely read up on the topic of interviewing and have your responses planned out like a strategically-placed advertisement during the Super Bowl. To avoid hearing prepared statements, employers are looking to shock candidates into honest, off-the-cuff answers, thus allowing them to get a glimpse of the real you.
My client, who happens to be intelligent, well-spoken and accustomed to fast-paced maneuvering, answered with poise, humor and ultimately, success.
He got the job – I guess they liked the sound of grilled cheese done his way.